Chikwawa is a town with a population of approximately 12,000 located in the Southern Region of Malawi on the west bank of the Shire River. It is the administrative capital of the Chikwawa District. Chikwawa lies about 30 miles south of Blantyre, the commercial capital of Malawi.
Chikwawa was the first town in Malawi to be seen by European explorers when David Livingstone's Zambezi Expedition steamed up the Shire River in 1859. The surrounding region was ravaged by Portuguese slave traders in the nineteenth century, and one member of the expedition called the Shire valley "a river of death."
Today Chikwawa is the gateway to the Majete Game Reserve, the Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve and Lengwe National Park. Large numbers of hippopotamus and crocodiles inhabit the river and swamps in the District, which is low-lying and extremely hot in the summer. Temperatures routinely exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and malaria and Tsete flies are rife.
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